Drones bolster war on weeds in state's Central West

Drones to detect and spray weeds will soon be deployed out to councils across the Central West as the NSW Government ramps up its war on weeds after months of wet weather.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the NSW Government will invest $12.8 million over the next 12 months through the NSW Weed Action Program to tackle problem weeds.

“Months of wet weather has not only added to the weed burden but has made it harder to undertake on-the-ground surveillance and control measures,” Mr Toole said.

“Through this program, Local Land Services will roll out drones to councils across the Central West and set them up to help map weed infestations – and ultimately deploy larger drones to spray invasive plants from the air.

“It’s just one of the innovative weed control measures we’re rolling out to help bolster frontline efforts in the war on weeds.”

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services had recently released 10,000 St John’s Wort beetles across the Central West to target the problem weed.

“We’ve deployed thousands of these beetles from Bathurst to Wellington, Coonabarabran and Gilgandra to combat outbreaks of that problem weed across the region,” Mr Saunders said.

“We’ll now monitor those beetle populations to see if they can establish themselves in the region to provide ongoing support in the war on weeds.”
Mr Saunders said those frontline efforts were supported by increased monitoring to stamp out weeds wherever they sprouted.

“We carried out 73,091 surveillance activities across the state last year – a significant increase from the 49,682 activities completed in 2018,” Mr Saunders said.

“But the key to this program’s success is the fact it’s an investment in awareness, training, education and building community capacity to proactively address weeds and
their impact.”

Media: Ella Smith, Deputy Premier, 0428 745 348
Sally Taylor, Minister Saunders, 0428 149 401

@ men standing with a large drone. One is wearing a blue shirt and black jeans and the other is wearing a light red shirt

Caption: Paul Toole and Dugald Saunders with drone used in the NSW Governments weed program.

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